Bulletin of Dental Education

ATSU-MOSDOH Serves Veterans Through the Dentures for Veterans Project

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ATSU Photo 1In 2017, A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) began a service project to commemorate ATSU’s 125-year heritage, while giving back to its community. The Dentures for Veterans project evolved out of volunteer mission trips to Dexter, MO. During these dental missions, patients with limited access to oral health services received care through Smiles of Hope Dental Clinic. ATSU-MOSDOH’s Herbert Silva, D.M.D., Assistant Professor and Comprehensive Care Unit Director, realized veterans made up a considerable portion of the individuals in need of dental care. Dr. Silva, a former Marine officer, is serving as the project facilitator. 

With funding available for a service project, Dwight McLeod, D.D.S., M.S., Dean of ATSU-MOSDOH, championed the initiative to continue helping veterans by providing dentures and follow-up care free of charge. Each veteran is treated by a team of third- and fourth-year students, with faculty supervision. The students work with the veteran throughout the eight-week process, which ends with the delivery of dentures and final fitting. The students and faculty members volunteer their time for the project outside of the classroom.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much to safeguard our democracy at home and abroad,” says Dr. McLeod. “Our faculty and students are honored to volunteer their time in support of our veterans and provide needed dental care. At ATSU-MOSDOH, we are deeply service-oriented, and we want to address the oral health needs within our communities.”

ATSU Photo 2Since the beginning of the project, ATSU-MOSDOH has continued to grow funds and join forces with multiple organizations to continue providing dentures to veterans. The project expanded to include veterans at the clinics in Kirksville and St. Louis.

“We used to say, ‘The best medal is a live man’s smile,’” says Dr. Silva, regarding his time in the military. “This project has worked to provide the ‘smile’ for real.”

To date, more than 50 veterans have received dentures through the project, and 21 are currently in the eight-week process. 

Courtesy of Devon Williams, Public Relations Specialist, A.T. Still University

Published on November 14, 2018

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